“With the addition of Fleet personnel from Cerebus, we have managed to get fully trained crews aboard all ships,” Tom reported and then he grinned at Scorpia
’s chief engineer. “And Major Church has managed to get her people back aboard this vessel.”
Denise chuckled. “It will be good to have a full crew taking care of the gripe sheet, XO,” she said. “I was about to start impressing Deck personnel for maintenance.”
Mathias nodded from the head of the table. “Getting back up to full strength is good, but we have problems on the horizon, ladies and gentlemen. With the exception of this ship and Aurora
, none of these vessels were designed for long-term deployments. For the moment, we are good on fuel, water, provisions, and parts—that will not last,” he said in a sober tone. “We need to start looking ahead. Furthermore, we have a large number of civilians aboard this flotilla; civilians that need to be told everything is going to be all right, that we will one day return to life as normal, that have something to do.”
The Commander looked at the faces of his senior officers—including Sam and Mark Foeswan, as well those he had selected to command the other ships—and he sighed. “I understand that we have had three suicides aboard Leonis Pryde
Namer scowled. “One suicide—and two murders. One of the civilians managed to get hold of a gun and killed his wife and son before taking his own life. He left behind a long note ‘explaining’ how the future was hopeless and that it was better to end it now before they suffered more.” He shrugged. “Most of these people are not used to the cramped environment, the lighting, the odd smells—at least when they were fighting the Cylons on the Colonies, they felt like they a purpose. Now? They are cargo.”
“And we are going to change that,” Mathias said grimly.
“How?” asked Paul Cook. “Our ships have full crews—anything we give the civilians to do will be make-work, at best.”
“We will train those that are willing in operating these ships, gentlemen. We will take casualties—that is a given. And what we have here, today, is all that we are ever going to have.”
“Until we find Galactica
, you mean,” Dr. Sarris added.
we find Galactica
, Doctor,” corrected Mathias. “It is a very large galaxy out there.”
“Commander,” Marius Tyche said, “not all of these people are suited to the Fleet. Not by far.”
“No. But those that are, gentlemen, we are give them assignments and we are going to teach them, and we are going to keep them occupied—keep their minds on doing
and not sitting
. And for those who aren’t willing or qualified to learn electronics or mechanics or engineering; well, we need to have clothing cleaned, food prepared, compartments scrubbed—people, I don’t want anyone sitting around on their backside feeling sorry for themselves. With this many people, there is no excuse for having any gripes on the sheets of your ships—NONE.”
“What about the children? There are nearly four hundred children among the survivors.” asked Sam.
“They are going to school—starting in three days. Vacation is over. Doctor Sarris, between your people and the handful of researchers from Cerberus we saved, I think we have enough qualified academics to teach these children.”
“We don’t have text books, or assignment books, or . . .,” Doctor Sarris started to argue, but Mathias cut him off.
“So? You have your minds—so do the children. I don’t care if you use chalkboards—Scorpia has several hundreds of kilos of chalk aboard that we use for various purposes. Major Caldwell and Colonel Foeswan have even more on their
ships. If we have to use slate and chalk they will be taught. They will
be educated. In math. In science. In history. In government. In literature. In the arts. We will not condemn the next generation to grow up ignorant due to the needs of the moment. Is that understood?”
One-by-one, the officers nodded.
“Good. Now, next measure of business—currency.”
Jon Namer grinned—he had already had several rousing discussions on this very subject with the Commander.
“Mister Namer is correct. Our people are used to have money. Starting today, the machine shops will be minting our own cubits. Every civilian will receive a stipend—those who are willing to learn will receive a greater one than those who aren’t. Our crews will be paid with these faux-cubits. And,” Mathias sighed. “Those cubits will be used to establish a means of buying the luxury goods we seized from Mister Laveride’s little ship. Get your people used to the idea because their pay is going to take a drastic cut—crew and pilots and officers will not have enough cubits to get cigars or booze anytime they want. But hopefully,” Mathias nodded to Namer, who nodded right back, “this will manage to cut off the incipient black market at its knees. Don’t kid yourself—it’s out there and if they don’t have money they will trade other things.”
“Guns, ammunition, sex,” said Tom in a sour voice.
“It’s human, and we need to cut that off before it begins, people,” added Mathias. “On our ships, we will take a zero-tolerance policy to black market deals—I know that some of Laveride’s people are still aboard. I don’t care. There will be no loan sharks. There will be no pimps. There will be no drug dealers. There will be no organized crime. And if need be, we will enforce that with Marines.”
“I’m not sure it can be done, Commander,” Namer said, shaking his head. “I ain’t gonna be fighting you on it, because I agree, but I don’t know if we can stamp it out completely.”
“If we don’t try, Mister Namer, then we will never succeed. How is the search for Kobol coming, Doctor?” Mathias asked, moving on to the next topic.
“Actually, we may have coordinates,” Neil answered. “Sam Anders has begun working with us—he is furious that he is a Cylon; technically a Cylon. But he has opened up with every bit of information that they downloaded into his brain. Give us a few months and I think we might be able to double the range at which you calculate a jump. But that is beside the point—Anders has been able to identify many of the local stars that the Cylons have explored and we have not. Between his knowledge and the descriptions in the religious texts, we may have found the location of Kobol,” Neil paused. “Mister Anders has suggested something that we might have to consider as well. We are all aware of how Brother Cavil interfaced with our systems at Cerebus—according to Mister Anders, he is able to interface with a Basestar. If we can manage to get him aboard one, we might be able to find out where Galactica
are operating—and coordinates to get there.”
“Sounds simple enough,” Tom said in a sarcastic tone, “just find a Basestar, hold them and their Raider complement off long enough to board them, fight through their internal Centurion defenders, raid their computer databanks, fight their way back out again, recover the team—including one rather indispensible Cylon agent who will be the only one carrying the data we retrieve—, and get them back aboard to jump away before a single Raider can summon help. Does that about sum it up, Doctor?”
Neil Sarris sighed. “I did not imagine it would be an easy task, Colonel Jayne. But it is my duty to bring up that it is a possibility that we need to consider.”
“And we will take it under advisement, Doctor Sarris,” Mathias said. “If an opportunity presents itself, we may well take up Mister Anders on his offer—how far distant are those coordinates you have managed to discover?”
“That close?” Mathias mused. “Very well, then. Provide Colonel Jayne with the coordinates and we will get Navigation to give them a double-check. If everything works out with the equations, then we will head for the home of the Gods. Is there anything else?”
No one spoke. “Then we are adjourned, gentlemen. There will be a wedding ceremony in the chapel aboard Scorpia
tomorrow at 1400 hours; dress uniforms for those attending. Off-duty personnel only.”
And with that, Mathias stood.